Monday, April 27, 2009

[Bread of Life – The Confession of Peter]

After Jesus fed the 5000, I still wondered why he did it? Why this miracle at this time? Then I kept reading and found the answer. It turns out that those who were fed followed after Jesus.]

John 6 (after feeding 5000 and walking on the water)

25 And when they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, "Rabbi, when did You come here?"
26 Jesus answered them and said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. 27 Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him."

[Jesus saw they followed for earthly blessings, but he wanted to provide what they needed for eternal life.]


28 Then they said to Him, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?"
29 Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent."
30 Therefore they said to Him, "What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'"

[Just when it seemed like they were beginning to understand Jesus, they went right back to thinking with their stomachs. They said Moses gave us manna from heaven, what sign will you give (food) that that we may believe you.]


32 Then Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."
34 Then they said to Him, "Lord, give us this bread always."

[First Jesus says Moses gave you no bread but my Father, and he has true bread for you now. They hear the word bread and think, "Hey he's going to feed us again. Give us this bread". But Jesus was talking about redemption.]


35 And Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. 37
All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

[If you remember Jesus with the Samaritan woman these words will sound familiar. Notice the involvement of God the father in bringing people to Jesus "All the Father gives Me, will come to Me".]


No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.

[This is why we always need to pray for the ones we will witness to, that the Father will draw them to the son. He went on to teach the sacrifice of his flesh and blood, just like he did at the last supper.]


65 And He said, "Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father."
66 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.


[Jesus is the bread of life, the only way of salvation to those who receive him. But always remember it is God the Father who rings the dinner bell, drawing sinners to repentance. Even in providing food, Jesus was working for redemption, always desiring to give believers eternal life. Most of Jesus' followers were fine with the miracles, and they desired him to be the conquering king who would take the throne of David and cast out the Roman occupiers from their land. But few were ready for the sacrificial Christ, who would personally atone for the sins of mankind. So after he used this graphic description similar to the words he would use at the last supper, many left and followed him no more.]


67 Then Jesus said to the twelve, "Do you also want to go away?"
68 But Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

[I call this Peter's Richard Gere moment. Remember the movie "An Office and a Gentleman"? (anybody want to confess that sin right now). Richard Gere is in Navy flight school and is caught in an honors violation by paying an enlisted men to keep extra sets his his brass and his shoes polished. The drill instructor is putting him through tortuous physical training where he has to hold the crunch position with his rifle extended singing an obscene cadence while the sergeant shoots water in his face with a garden hose almost drowning him. Finally the sergeant say "Why don't you just quit" and Richard Gere screams "I got nowhere else to go". Peter facing a similar choice say "Where will we go, you have the words of eternal life" and "You are the Christ the son of the living God", some translations will say the Holy one of God. I like that to because only God is holy, so it identifies Jesus as God.]


Matthew 16

5 Now when His disciples had come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread. 6 Then Jesus said to them, "Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees."
7 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, "It is because we have taken no bread."
8 But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, "O you of little faith, why do you reason among yourselves because you have brought no bread?[c]
9 Do you not yet understand, or remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets you took up? 10 Nor the seven loaves of the four thousand and how many large baskets you took up? 11 How is it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread?—but to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees." 12 Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

[After feeding the 5000 and teaching about the bread of life, he fed 4000 in another place in a similar manner. Two of the Gospels, Matthew and Mark record both if these miracles so it's not confusion or somebody's bad memory these were two different miracles. But when Jesus talks about the leaven of the Pharisees they think maybe he's warning them not to eat the local bread, because they forgot to bring their own. And Jesus kind of scolds them because they saw him feed thousands, yet they think he's talking about physical bread. But he says no, I'm talking about doctrine. So what is wrong with the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees? Well certainly they had legalism which they used to make themselves superior to others. They also suffered from doubt, even seeing his miracles they did not believe in Jesus as Messiah. But I think the metaphor of leaven is a strong hint. Just as leaven puffs up the bread to make it rise, so too does pride in the heart of a man.]


13 When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, "Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?"
14 So they said, "Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets."


[Israel has a great tradition of prophets. And when people heard his teaching and saw the miracles they usually believed he was a great teacher or even a prophet. After John the Baptist was killed some (including Harod) thought John the Baptist was risen from the dead, and that's who Jesus was. Yet even though all these people believed in Jesus, thought he was a great man of God, this was not a saving faith.


Look back to end of John 2

23 Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. 24 But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men,
25 and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man.

{This is one of those passages I never really understood, because it says people believed on his name, but he did not commit himself to them. So I always wondered what was wrong with their belief. Well you find the answer when you keep reading in Chapter 3}

John 3

1 There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, "Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him."
3 Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."

{You see Nicodemus was one of those people who believed in Jesus because of the miracles. But as soon as he starts talking Jesus cuts him off and says "you must me born again", because Nicodemus did not yet believe he was the Messiah he was not trusting Jesus as his savior. What we believe about Jesus matters very much to God.]

Now turn back to Matthew 16]


15 He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"
16 Simon Peter answered and said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

17 Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.

[Do you see the difference? This is one of those verses I memorized in the original King James so to me Peter will forever say "Thou art the Christ". So why did Peter have the right belief the right faith? Jesus answered in verse 17 "blessed are you because my Father in heaven has revealed it to you". Sound familiar? We read the same thing in John 6 when Jesus said no one comes to the Son without the Father, but once the Father draws them to Jesus, he never turns them away. ]


18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed[d] in heaven."
20 Then He commanded His disciples that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ.

[In the Greek, Peter is petros a small stone or rock fragment, and rock is Petra a mass of rock. So people argue is Peter the rock, the reason why Catholics call him the first Pope, because it certainly talks about the authority Christ granted to the apostles. But as the foundation of the church the rock only be, the revelation from the Father "though art the Christ, the Son of the living God." For every Christian, every member of God's church, has shared in this same revelation for 2000 years. Jesus is the Christ, God's salvation, the only one who can take away my sins. You see what we believe about Jesus really does matter.]

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